Brian L. Rooney (born June 27, 1970) is a former construction worker who was convicted of the abduction and murder of 21-year-old college student Michelle Gardner-Quinn, a senior at the University of Vermont, located in Burlington, Vermont.
Gardner-Quinn's body was found on October 13, 2006 at the Huntington Gorge in Richmond, stuffed into a rock crevice and covered with leaves. An autopsy revealed that she had been sexually assaulted; cause of death was strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head. Rooney was charged with Gardner-Quinn's murder on October 25, 2006 when DNA evidence linked him to her.
A jewelry store security camera showed Rooney walking with the victim on October 7, 2006 at 2:34 A.M. It has been said that Gardner-Quinn had borrowed Rooney's cell phone to try to reunite with friends she had been out with. According to Vermont police, it is also said that Rooney was the last person to see her alive.
Rooney's guilt was based largely on the strength of DNA evidence taken from semen found inside Quinn's body, while his lawyer argued that "two nanograms of sperm" handled by a forensic lab with a history of sloppy work was not sufficient to convict.
Federal charges were filed against Rooney as of 1998. He is currently charged with lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor in Essex County, about 80 miles east of Burlington. He is also charged with sexual assault on a minor and on an 18-year-old woman. Rooney is believed to have used an ether-soaked cloth to subdue and incapacitate the woman. A former girlfriend with whom he had a child has said that he threatened to kill her on numerous occasions. According to court documents, Rooney is believed to have three children with as many mothers.
Brian Rooney was found guilty of the murder of Michelle Gardner-Quinn on Thursday, May 22, 2008.
Sentence and appeal:
On October 17, 2008, Rooney was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole (under Vermont law, the only available sentence for aggravated murder). Judge Michael Kupersmith berated him, stating that: "You are the lowest of the low." Rooney expressed condolences to Quinn's family but still insists that he is innocent. Rooney is now seeking a new trial. Rooney claims the judge gave improper instructions to the jury and that government witnesses misled jurors about the reliability of DNA evidence. His defense lawyer is taking advantage of an appeals process that is automatic in Vermont murder convictions.
Rooney's lawyer, David Sleigh argued that he should be acquitted outright because the State failed to prove that Gardner-Quinn's death occurred at the time of her r*pe, which is a requirement for the crime of aggravated murder with which he was charged. In February 2011, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that Rooney's trial was carried out appropriately. As voted in a 3-2 decision, Rooney's sentence of life in prison without parole will stand.
The Vermont Department of Corrections houses a portion of their inmates in out-of-state institutions. Rooney is currently housed at the Lee Adjustment Center in Beattyville, Kentucky. His inmate identification number is 18539.
Full Name at Birth
Brian L. Rooney
18539 (inmate I.D. number)
Date of Birth
A former girlfriend with whom he had a child has said that he threatened to kill her on numerous occasions...
3 children with 3 different partners...
Lee Adjustment Center, Beattyville, Kentucky, USA
Convicted Rapist And Murderer, Former Construction Worker
Claim to Fame
Abduction, rape and murder of 21-year-old student Michelle Gardner-Quinn in October 2006